Theoretical 57Fe Mössbauer spectroscopy: isomer shifts of [Fe]-hydrogenase intermediates†
Mössbauer spectroscopy is an indispensable spectroscopic technique and analytical tool in iron coordination chemistry. The linear correlation between the electron density at the nucleus (“contact density”) and experimental isomer shifts has been used to link calculated contact densities to experimental isomer shifts. Here we have investigated relativistic methods of systematically increasing sophistication, including the eXact 2-Component (X2C) Hamiltonian and a finite-nucleus model, for the calculation of isomer shifts of iron compounds. While being of similar accuracy as the full four-component treatment, X2C calculations are far more efficient. We find that effects of spin–orbit coupling can safely be neglected, leading to further speedup. Linear correlation plots using effective densities rather than contact densities versus experimental isomer shift lead to a correlation constant a = −0.294 a0−3 mm s−1 (PBE functional) which is close to an experimentally derived value. Isomer shifts of similar quality can thus be obtained both with and without fitting, which is not the case if one pursues a priori a non-relativistic model approach. As an application for a biologically relevant system, we have studied three recently proposed [Fe]-hydrogenase intermediates. The structures of these intermediates were extracted from QM/MM calculations using large QM regions surrounded by the full enzyme and a solvation shell of water molecules. We show that a comparison between calculated and experimentally observed isomer shifts can be used to discriminate between different intermediates, whereas calculated atomic charges do not necessarily correlate with Mössbauer isomer shifts. Detailed analysis reveals that the difference in isomer shifts between two intermediates is due to an overlap effect.